James D. Livingston

The evolution of life

Matt Damon in "The Martian"

Pluto's surface as seen by New Horizons

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket

Size comprison of the Earth, the moon, and Pluto (lower left)

Aerial view of Spaceship Two crash in Mohave Desert

Close-up of nucleus of comet 67P taken by ESA spacecraft Rosetta

Wernher Von Braun & engines of Saturn V

Steven Swanson (left) and Russian colleagues

Yutu, Chinese rover, on the moon

Comet ISON and its green tail

International Space Station, where NASA will continue to support the astronauts during the shutdown

Artist's version of Mars One colony (Bryan Versteeg)

Kepler Space Telescope (artist's version)

Pluto - the Former Ninth Planet

Virgin Galactic space plane over New Mexico's Spaceport America

Saturn - Lord of the Rings

Arizona's Meteor Crater

Radar view of the surface of Venus as seen by Magellan orbiter

Use of Terra, a spin-off of CheMin (instrument on Curiosity), in King Tut's tomb

Streambed found on Mars by Curiosity (compared to dry streambed on Earth)

Self-portrait of the rover Curiosity on Mars.

SPACE SHORTS

Here Comes The Martian

September 18, 2015

Tags: Mars, astronaut, landing, Matt Damon, Andy Weir, Mariner 4, NASA, Mars One, Bas Lansdorp


Published in The Patriot Ledger September 19, 2015

It’s opening soon – “The Martian” starring Matt Damon. In the film, Damon plays the title character, but he’s not an alien. He’s a human astronaut stranded on Mars when the rest of his NASA crew evacuate the planet to return home, thinking Damon dead. He’s “The Martian” because he then has to find ways to survive alone on Mars. (more…)

Humans to Mars?

July 9, 2013

Tags: Mars, Mars One, Bas Lansdorp, Inspiration Mars, Dennis Tito, Charles Bolden, asteroid retrieval mission, Spiro Agnew, President Obama

Published in The Patriot Ledger June 22, 2013:

In 1969, when Neil Armstrong made the “giant leap for mankind” by stepping onto the moon, Vice President Spiro Agnew said that our “next major space goal should be a manned landing on Mars by the end of the century.” That didn’t happen. For over 40 years now, no humans have even ventured beyond low earth orbit, about 200 miles up, where the international space station now flies and the space shuttles formerly flew. (more…)

Life on Mars?

July 9, 2013

Tags: Mars, Curiosity, streambed, Gale Crater

Published in The Patriot Ledger October 27, 2012:

It has now been forty years since we last landed men on the moon, but there’s excitement in space again. NASA’s rover Curiosity recently discovered an ancient streambed on Mars – an array of rounded rocks that clearly had been shaped by tumbling action in flowing water. This must have been an important discovery, because it received a few seconds of coverage on ABC News and other news outlets, almost as much as the day’s campaign news. (more…)

Space Shorts

July 9, 2013

Tags: NASA, Mars, Curiosity, STEM

My blog "Space Shorts" features occasional articles of op-ed length (about 600 words) on space exploration published in The Patriot Ledger, a newspaper published in Quincy, MA. It started with a letter to the editor published October 6, 2012. Editor Amy MacKinnon liked the letter and from then on published my occasional articles. My goal in writing these articles for a general audience was to promote public interest in science in general and space exploration in particular. The letter that started it:



This is in response to a letter last week that, in view of all the other financial needs of the country, questioned the wisdom of spending money to send the rover Curiosity to Mars, a multi-year project estimated to cost about $2.5 billion. There are many justifications to include space exploration in our national budget.

First there are of course jobs, the key word nowadays. There are many thousands of jobs involved with NASA projects, including many jobs in industry and academe across the country as well as government jobs.

Second, it is well established that highly technical projects like Curiosity often provide spin-offs that advance other technologies, including communications, manufacturing, and medicine.

At least equally important, space projects are exciting to the imagination, and increase interest among the young in considering careers in the STEM fields - science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In our globally-competitive environment, that's an important and worthy goal on which NASA focuses.

The long-term scientific goals of the Mars projects are to improve our understanding of the origin of the planets and of life.

Perhaps the strongest justification for such projects is that they provide sustenance to the basic human instinct that drives all of science and much of human progress - curiosity.

Selected Works

History
A brief sequel to Arsenic and Clam Chowder, in which Mary Alice travels north on the Klondike Gold Rush
A sensational murder trial set in 1890s New York
Popular Science
The first review of the many and varied forms of magnetic levitation written for a general audience.
A entertaining treatment of the history, legends, science, and technology of magnets for a general audience.
Historical Biography
The dramatic life story of an early feminist and abolitionist who was both witty and wise.
Undergraduate Textbook
A lively introduction to the electrical, optical, and magnetic properties of solids.

Quick Links

Find Authors